Wokingham’s Conservative MP John Redwood has hit back after a former Tory councillor backed his Liberal Democrat rival for the next general election.

Mark Ashwell, who was previously a leading Conservative councillor on Wokingham Borough Council, announced last week he was backing councillor Clive Jones to become Wokingham’s new MP.

Mr Ashwell accused Mr Redwood of “ducking the opportunity to work with his constituents.” He said: “Within our community and local politics I’ve always tried to work with anyone who has the community’s interests at heart and can make things happen.

“In the past, I have tried to do so with John Redwood but found this impossible.  He is entrenched in an ideology and system that doesn’t represent his constituents.”

But Mr Redwood said he was engaged with Wokingham residents’ problems “every day”. He said: “Mr Ashwell has not asked me to work with him on anything this Parliament. He clearly does not read my daily blog.

“If he did so he would see how every day I am engaged with problems my constituents face and how I approach problems pragmatically, seeking practical solutions. My aim is to get the government to create conditions so as many as possible can live prosperous and happy lives.”